The Center, primarily a high school serving “at risk” students in grades 9-12, is the brainchild of Aurora Weier. She was a Panamanian woman who married an American soldier and moved to Milwaukee with her husband. She saw education as the solution for many of the problems plagueing the Latino communities in the U.S. and in Milwaukee, in particular. In 1984 she created the Enrichment Center on the site of the Natatorium on the corner of Richards and Center Streets. The public swimming facility had been closed since 1977, and the building was the perfect location for her dream of an alternative high school for Latino students in need of a different educational approach. The dream became a reality in the east building, but only two and a half months after the official September opening, Aurora Weier was murdered by a jealous and misguided fellow community leader. On November 4, 1985, Luis Santiago, the then Director of United Youth Federation, spotted Mrs. Weier and her 7-year-old son approaching the Center. He took his rifle to the second floor window of his house, aimed, and shot her. The devastating event was a blow to the entire Latino community, as it had suddenly lost two of its most prominent leaders. Resilience, however, was essential at this crucial time if Aurora Weier’s dream of helping the community was to survive. So, her husband David stepped up to buoy her project and became the Center’s new Director. He served in the position for two years while he found new leadership for the Center, now renamed Aurora Weier Educational Center to honor her drive and dedication to the Latino community in the area.
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